East Asia has experienced dynamic economic growth alongside geopolitical tensions. President Trump’s more transactional approach to alliances and talk of decoupling from China have unsettled the region. From Sino-Japanese rivalry to North Korea’s nuclear programme and trade/historical disputes between South Korea and Japan, this session brings together researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Tokyo to exchange views at a time of uncertainty for the region and present ongoing projects on regional politics.


Yee-Kuang Heng

Professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy
The University of Tokyo

Yee-Kuang HENG graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) with a B.Sc. (First Class Honours) and then PhD in International Relations funded by the UK Overseas Research Students Award Scheme. Dr. Heng has held faculty positions at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; the University of St Andrews in Scotland, United Kingdom; and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

He has published on Japanese foreign and security policy in the Journal of Strategic Studies; The Pacific Review, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Global Policy, and the Routledge Handbook of Japanese Foreign Policy (2018). Heng’s work on risk and security studies has also appeared in Security Dialogue; Survival; Review of International Studies; The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, European Security; amongst others. He is author of several books, most recently ‘Managing Global Risks in the Urban Age: Singapore and the making of a Global City’ (Routledge, 2016). Current research interests include UK-Japan security cooperation and more broadly, the presence of European powers in the Indo-Pacific.


John Nilsson-Wright

Senior University Lecturer,
University of Cambridge

John NILSSON-WRIGHT (formerly Swenson-Wright) is senior university lecturer at Cambridge University and an official fellow at Darwin College; he also is concurrently senior research fellow for Northeast Asia and Korea Foundation Korea Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House. He was head of the Chatham House Asia Programme from March 2014 to October 2016 and is a graduate of Christ Church and St. Antony’s College, Oxford and SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on Cold War history and the contemporary international relations of Northeast Asia, with reference to Japan and the Koreas. He is the author and editor of a number of books including Unequal Allies? United States Security and Alliance Policy Toward Japan 1945-1960 (Stanford University Press, 2004); Crisis of Peace and New Leadership in Korea: Lessons of Kim Dae-jung’s Legacies (Seoul: Yonsei University Press, 2014), The Politics and International Relations of Modern Korea (Routledge, 2016) and Global Britain and Proactive Japan: Developing a 21st Century Partnership (Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2019). His recent articles include Nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula: strategic adaptation, the Abe Administration and extended deterrence in the face of uncertainty, Japan Forum (2018) and Creative Minilateralism in a Changing Asia: Opportunities for Security Convergence and Cooperation between Australia, India, and Japan, Chatham House (2017). His current research focuses on populism and identity politics as a contemporary and historical phenomenon in both Europe and Northeast Asia.

Kiichi Fujiwara

Professor of International Politics at the Graduate Schools of Law and Politics
The University of Tokyo

Kiichi Fujiwara is professor of International Politics and Director of Institute for Future Initiatives at the University of Tokyo. A graduate of the University of Tokyo, Professor Fujiwara studied as a Fulbright student at Yale University. He first joined the faculty at Chiba University, moved to Institute of Social Science, and has taught at the Graduate Schools for Law and Politics since 1999. Prof. Fujiwara’s works include Remembering the War (2001); A Democratic Empire (2002); Is There a Just War? (2003); Peace for Realists (winner of the Ishibashi Tanzan award, 2005), International Politics (2007), and Conditions of War, (2013). Professor Fujiwara is a regular commentator on international affairs who writes a monthly column for the Asahi. He also writes a weekly film review for the Mainichi.